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Old 10-17-2016, 12:52 PM   #1
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SSLance's 2016 300DS trips and mods thread

We've had our 2016 Coachmen Concord 300DS for just over a year now and with several long trips, many more short trips and a total of about 9,000 miles on it now...it is time to document our experience so far and start thinking about changes to make to the RV to make it work better for us.

Overall, we love it so far and it has performed great for our needs. We use it to pull my racecar to the away tracks and to vacation both near and far away. We currently live in Kansas City and it has been to Florida last winter and recently Albuquerque, NM to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta as well as tracks in Nebraska, Indiana, Iowa and Kansas.

Because it is still fresh I'll share some pics from the Balloon trip. If you have been, you know the spectacle the Fiesta is, if you haven't been...you MUST go.

Here we are parked in Standard RV parking.





We have already decided that when we go back next year we are upgrading to VIP RV Parking West (reservations open up tomorrow I think) to make it a touch easier to see sites like this early in the morning.






We had a great time there but struggled just a bit with power while dry camped for 3 full days. Waking up at 5 am to a screaming CO monitor because of low voltage and having to jump start the house batteries with the chassis battery to start the Genset is not my idea of fun. Some of it was operator error and some of it was just inadequate battery storage for what we were trying to do. My intention is to have twice the battery storage power, enough solar panels to help keep them charged and an inverter so I can make a cup of coffee in the morning without starting the generator all installed before our next long term dry camp experience. I might need to lean on some of you more experienced RVers here for help while making these upgrades.

Otherwise, the RV did great. We got about 6.5 mpg on the way West on I40 and just under 8 MPG on the way back home heading East flat towing our 2012 Jeep Liberty and running mostly around 73-75 MPH. I've discovered that speed and weight really aren't a factor in mileage...but wind direction and force is. I'm happy with the mileage and REALLY happy with how well the RV rolls down the road when trying to make time. We drove 13.5 hours on the last day on our way home, we didn't really plan on doing it in one day but the wind was in our favor, we got an early start and the driving was fairly easy. It says something that one can drive this chassis for that long of a day and not be completely wore out once stopped. Love how this thing goes down the road.

Here is what the rig looks like when heading to a race event.



It pulls the 6100# trailer with relative ease and having living quarters on site in the paddock makes taking my wife and dogs with me to races possible and really pretty comfortable.

Again, a lot of the time we'll be dry camped at a track so a power upgrade would help here as well. I'd also like to insulate the compartment around the Generator to help cut down some of the noise inside the RV. has anyone ever tried this? there doesn't appear to be a lot of room there but I'm thinking maybe dropping the Gen and lining the inside of the compartment with Dynomat or some other sound absorption material. We have a big bean bag chair that we carry with us when we'll be camped in one spot for a while and with it set on the floor over the generator, it cuts the inside noise down probably a third...so I know it can be improved upon.

Overall, we love the RV and can't wait to make it even better and share our experiences with the members here.
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Old 10-18-2016, 06:30 AM   #2
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Looking good!

I have seen the balloon festival, many years ago, always impressive.

I will be adding an inverter to ours in the near future (that could mean up to two years). I plan to use a 2,000 watt Pure Sine and mount it behind the fireplace. Batteries; I am still looking for a place to add two more. Might have to re-configure the step area for a sliding tray. Still contemplating that one. I do have 100 watt portable solar panels that I plug into the outside port. The solar panels are a Renogy Suitcase set. They put out 5-6 amps in full sun. I may put panels on the top, however in this part of the country we prefer shady camp sites so the portable panels work better for the time being.

Be careful when adding insulation around the generator NOT to block air flow. I haven't looked at that area yet. I do plan to add some insulation to the engine doghouse area eventually.

When we are dry camping (no hook-ups) I either us a stove top percolator or a Melitta drip coffee maker. I have both a 6 cup and a single cup. Usually use the single cup one.

Another handy thing to consider is a good quality power meter to monitor power usage. I am planning on using a Victron BMV-700 with the bluetooth dongle.

Aaron
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Old 10-18-2016, 08:18 AM   #3
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Thanks Aaron, that is a good point about shade and the panels on the roof. My issue is, if I don't put them on the roof, where will I carry them? As you know storage space under the 300DS is a premium. How big are your panels when folded up?

I agree on insulation needed for the doghouse as well, the floor and side of the dog house do get pretty warm when under way. I am a car guy and there are several products used on the interior of car restorations to keep heat and sound to a minimum that are light and thin. RAAMAT, Dynomat, and Lizardskin are just a few. I used Raamat on the interior of my 1985 Monte carlo and it is amazing how it made a clangy old GM car sound more like a late model Lexus on the inside. It is more for sound and less for heat blocking though, probably a good choice for around the Gen.

I'll check out that power monitor...I borrowed a Class A a few times before buying this rig and it's inverter showed a real clear picture of exactly what was going on with the electrical system in the RV which is a pretty handy feature.

My thought on adding batteries is to look for a space under the rig on the chassis somewhere to find a place to mount brackets for a couple of Blue Top Optima batteries. You can mount them in any location since they are AGM batteries. Then just need to run cables from them to the battery box under the step. Granted this is all in theory as I haven't crawled under to map out a location as of yet.
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Old 10-18-2016, 02:42 PM   #4
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My panels are pretty small, they fold in half and store in a semi-rigid case. I keep them in compartment on the right rear side.

Aaron



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Old 10-19-2016, 10:37 AM   #5
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Thanks for sharing the pictures Aaron, that helps a lot. So those come with a controller on them and just plug into the port and go, right?

Something to think about for sure. Looks like it comes with a 10' cord, are you able to extend that if needed? Say you needed to put the panels near the back of the RV...
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Old 10-19-2016, 12:29 PM   #6
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So it looks like I get to get some practice in with my Millermatic building a battery box. There is a void directly in front of the step well that is large enough to fit a box designed to hold two Optima Blue Top batteries.

The box will have to work around a outrigger style support brace and be pretty strong to support the weight...but this place will provide very convenient wiring to the rest of the house batteries as they are right next door.



I also peeked around the Genset while under there and there is a void I can fit my hand into between the top of the Genset and the bottom of the floor of the house. I think if I cover this sheetmetal which you see on the bottom of the floor here with dynomat or some other sound insulation, it should greatly reduce the amount of noise transmitted inside the RV when the Genset is running.



Will most likely have to drop the Genset carrier down a bit to make room to install but it appears to just be hanging on those 4 bolts in rubber isolators and the whole carrier will just drop down. Hopefully it'll come down far enough to make the room needed without having to take the wire harnesses loose.
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Old 10-19-2016, 06:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SSLance View Post
Thanks for sharing the pictures Aaron, that helps a lot. So those come with a controller on them and just plug into the port and go, right?

Something to think about for sure. Looks like it comes with a 10' cord, are you able to extend that if needed? Say you needed to put the panels near the back of the RV...
Pretty much. You will need an adapter cord to go from the panel cord to the RV plug. I bought mine from Solar Dealz.

I would also consider the possibility of buying a controller and installing it in the camper and then you could use both roof top and remote panels. With solar the closer the controller is to the batteries the better and the smaller the wire you need from the panels to the controller. (One of my future plans) They make the suitcase set without the controller on it. I would also consider going up to 160 watts or even 200. I think 300 watts seems to be the ideal size for most RV's, but that is getting too big for portable use.

I think I have about 25' of wire on mine. It has an SAE connector, I have a set of battery clips and the adapter cable so I can go either way with it. If you mount the controller in the RV you can go a lot longer on the cable without having to go crazy on the gauge. If you leave the controller on the panels you will have to kick the cable up several sizes if you start to get too long.

Aaron
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Old 11-05-2016, 09:25 AM   #8
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Awesome pics!

Hi,
We recently purchased a 2015 Concord and love it! I am trying to add an HDMI wire to the TV but can't seem to figure out how to get behind it. Any idea how to remove it long enough to plug HDMI into it?
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Old 11-05-2016, 10:40 AM   #9
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Hi,
We recently purchased a 2015 Concord and love it! I am trying to add an HDMI wire to the TV but can't seem to figure out how to get behind it. Any idea how to remove it long enough to plug HDMI into it?
There are 4 screws in the wood panel the TV is mounted too, remove those 4 screws (be careful when taking the last ones loose) and then the TV and the wood panel come loose letting you get to the back of the TV.

Congrats on the purchase...
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